Carson baseball beats Wooster
Appeal Sports Writer
Ordinarily, Carson High baseball coach Steve Cook would have been very nervous after watching a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 deficit in the top of the sixth inning against Wooster. However, he took one look at his players coming off the field and had a good feeling on Thursday afternoon.
“The way we’ve played the last couple of weeks, I was not sure how we would answer,” Cook said. “But coming off the field, I looked at their faces and they were smiling. They weren’t scared. They were ready to get after it.”
The young Senators did just that. First, sophomore catcher Brooks Greenlee delivered a two-run single with two outs to give the Senators a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Then sophomore relief pitcher Nick Smallman made that lead stand as he worked out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh to slam the door shut on Wooster in the opening game of a key Sierra League series at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson improved to 9-1 in league (20-5 overall) and stayed in the thick of the league playoff race. Wooster, now 9-1, will host Carson in a doubleheader at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
This was a huge win for the Senators, who had lost three of their last five games, including a 9-1 nonconference setback at home against Bishop Manogue on Tuesday.
“We played an awesome game today,” Greenlee said. “The last couple of games we had players going in different directions. But it’s a team game and today we had a great team effort.”
Wooster took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a three-run homer by University of Nevada-bound pitcher Jeremy Joustra, but the Senators had an answer in the bottom half of the inning.
Kevin Schlange singled to right to lead off the inning and moved to second when Jack Jacquet walked with one out. Murphy Gardner’s ground out to the right side advanced both runners, then Greenlee lined the first pitch he saw into center field.
“I’ve been hitless the last two games so I’ve been working on some new stances and I think I finally found one that works,” Greenlee said.
“He (Joustra) had been throwing some lollipop curves, but this he hung one there at my belt, I just stepped back and roped it up the middle.”
The Senators still had to get through the seventh with Smallman, who had come in to pitch in relief of sophomore starter Kyle Mandoki in the sixth.
Cody Williams walked to lead off Wooster’s seventh, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a sacrifice bunt by David Kuhfuss. Smallman threw two straight balls to No. 3 hitter Jesse Rasner, but came back to get a swinging strike three for the second out. Joustra was then walked intentionally and Jason McNeil was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cam Carroll worked the count to 2-2 then hit a chopper to third baseman Logan Parsley, who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, but got his throw to Gardner at first base in time for the final out.
The game was Smallman’s to win or lose because nobody was warming up in the bullpen at the end.
“The demeanor of that kid, being a sophomore, is tremendous,” Cook said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to show a little confidence in a guy. And with Nick, we’ve seen it before. In our consolation game in San Jose (tournament), he took the ball when we had the lead and we ended up winning in eight.
“I was very confident with who we had on the hill today,” he added, pointing out that both his pitchers and catcher are sophomores.
Mandoki only allowed three hits through five innings before Wooster rallied in the sixth. Kuhfuss singled, Rasner walked and then Joustra slammed a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence.
“You can’t sit back and wait for a three-run home run, but in that situation, the pitcher had just thrown two balls, so we’re thinking fastball down the middle. We gave him the green light and he took advantage of it,” Wooster coach Ron Malcolm said.
“I felt we had control of the game, but then they get the three-run bomb by Joustra. But that was no surprise because he’s going to be a good player at the next level.”
Joustra allowed four runs but only gave up four hits in his 6 2/3 innings.
The Senators made their hits count. Logan Parsley homered to left to give Carson a 1-0 with two outs in the first inning. Then in the third, Jeremiah Teeter reached on an error and Kevin Schlange laced a two-out triple into the right field corner to make it 2-0.
Expect both the Senators and Colts to come out ready to play in their doubleheader on Saturday.
“It’s a three-game series, that’s what makes it so great,” Malcolm said. “Now, our backs are up against the wall and we’ve got to come back and try to get two on Saturday.”
Obviously, the Senators will want to continue their momentum.
“We can’t afford any more losses,” Greenlee said. “We’ve got zone coming up and before then we have some big games, two on Saturday, so we’ve got to keep our heads on tight and keep playing well.”
CARSON JVS 7, WOOSTER 0
Christian Volker pitched his first complete game ever in organized baseball in the win for the Carson junior varsity baseball team. Volker struck out eight and walked three.
David Leid had two triples and an RBI, Bryt Lewis went 2-for-4 with a double, Volker had a hit and two RBI, Rob Valerius and Cody Bone each added a hit, Steve Myers went 1-for-2 and beautifully executed a squeeze play for an RBI and Markus Adams went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.